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  1. #1

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    Hey everyone,

    I have an Ibanez AF71F. I’m wanting to get a rosewood saddle to replace the metal one and a Johnny smith style pickup with adjustable pole pieces to replace the current pickup that has no adjustable pieces. However, I want to try using bronze strings on this guitar. If I take out the E and B string pole pieces and raise the EADG pole pieces as much as possible will that do the trick? Has anyone tried this feat before with the low cost Johnny smith pickups?

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  3. #2

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    I've got something kind'a like what you're asking about but ... maybe it's close but no cigar.

    I have a 40's Harmony noncut archtop with laminated top, strung with bronze strings, a rosewood bridge and a cheap (like $20) Chinese made Johnny Smith PU.

    PU, however, doesn't have adjustable pole pieces.

    With that said, I think it sounds fine and others have told me the same. Some have even said it's my best sounding guitar. It has a unique woody acoustic quality. At the same time, it doesn't sound like a flat top with an inbuilt PU. I play it primarily with my fingers (no pick), everything from old jazz standards vocal and instrumentals to Taj Mahal style blues. I also used it with my Gypsy Jazz band for a change of pace from my Favino and Selmer-style guitars.

    Not sure if this helps, but for me I'm pleased with the sound and I don't really notice the unwound E and B strings being notably louder. Yes, a bit louder but not by much. In my case, since I'm using my fingers only, I may be adjusting for the volume subconsciously while I'm playing. One thing is for sure, there is a lot less volume difference between the strings with this guitar with bronze strings than with my Charlie Christian's CC pickup and monel strings. There I can really hear the difference between my E&B and the other strings.

  4. #3

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    If you're using a handmade Kent Armstrong with adjustable polepieces, such as is available from Djangobooks.com or Archtop.com or direct from Armstrong in Vermont, the descriptive text states that the pickup can be adjusted to use any of nickel, bronze, or copper strings.

    I have a handmade Kent Armstrong on my Heritage guitar, and I've found that adjustability to be true, at least with nickel and bronze (phosphor-bronze, in my case) strings. There was no need to raise the bass polepieces to their limits nor to remove the B and treble E polepieces; only a very slight adjustment was necessary. The pickup I have is not the small Johnny Smith style, but the "Ajustable Floating PAF" model; the descriptive text, however, is the same for both.

    I don't know whether this applies to the WD Music "Kent Armstrong"-label pickups. However, I do know the WD pickups do not appear to be the same as the handmade Kent Armstrong pickups. The pickups offered at kentarmstrong.com are the WD Music pickups.

    Kent Armstrong himself seems to be available at kentarmstrongpickups.com.

  5. #4

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    Krivo builds pickups designed for acoustic strings.

  6. #5

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  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by dconeill
    If you're using a handmade Kent Armstrong with adjustable polepieces, such as is available from Djangobooks.com or Archtop.com or direct from Armstrong in Vermont, the descriptive text states that the pickup can be adjusted to use any of nickel, bronze, or copper strings.

    I have a handmade Kent Armstrong on my Heritage guitar, and I've found that adjustability to be true, at least with nickel and bronze (phosphor-bronze, in my case) strings. There was no need to raise the bass polepieces to their limits nor to remove the B and treble E polepieces; only a very slight adjustment was necessary. The pickup I have is not the small Johnny Smith style, but the "Ajustable Floating PAF" model; the descriptive text, however, is the same for both.

    I don't know whether this applies to the WD Music "Kent Armstrong"-label pickups. However, I do know the WD pickups do not appear to be the same as the handmade Kent Armstrong pickups. The pickups offered at kentarmstrong.com are the WD Music pickups.

    Kent Armstrong himself seems to be available at kentarmstrongpickups.com.
    dconeil, I'm glad to read your post: I have a 'handmade' KA(single coil floater, with adj. polepieces) on order from Kent himself, here in Vermont. I plan to mount it on my '47 Epi Broadway, for use with PB strings. I want to be able to play rhythm with the pickup off(via a volume pedal), then bring it up for solos.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by feet
    I tried those. I didn't think they were very good.

  9. #8
    Hi guys, sorry for bringing this post from the dead. For people that have tried using phospor bronze strings with a magnetic pickup, did the bass strings sound thinner? That would actually be a big plus for me. I would really like to get the pickup replacement as well as a wood bridge replacement done by the kent Armstrong pickups in the EU where I currently live are a lot pricier than in the US.

  10. #9

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    Kent's son makes pickups to the same design in England- might be cheaper at least as long as the UK is still in the EU for a few more weeks...

  11. #10
    I did find an OEM floating pickup on amazon.com that I could get sent here to France. Has anyone tried this and can report back with the results? Most notably, how the low strings sound. Do they have a thinner sound or are they just quieter? I would buy a set right now to test and try but I have elixirs on my Ibanez right now that are 2 weeks old. Apparently Anthony Wilson uses bronze strings on his Mantellone archtop. Can anyone confirm this?

  12. #11

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    I've been using phosphor bronze with KA 12 pole floating paf for about 3 years now. In my case I wouldn't say it makes the bass strings any 'thinner sounding' or any less loud. It just sounds really good to me.

    My only point of reference is another arch top with the same pickup but in set format and nickel round wound. The guitars sound different, but I can't say just where the diff is coming from. As much as anything I think it's the carve of the two. One is lighter than the other.